Baftas diversity controversy


Joaquin Phoenex self reflection that privalige is often confused with talent  

We are at that time of the year again. Award ceremonies such as the Oscars and Baftas nominate and hand out awards to a non-diverse group of people. There will be come controversy and some uproar, passionate speeches and a commitment to change, however, unless there are measurable targets and changes in  processes, we will be having the same conversation next year.


Joaquin Phoenix upon winning his award for best Actor gave a passionate speech about his privilege, stating “I feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege. I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here”. Following the speech Lulu Wang tweeted “an uncomfortable silence filled the hall for a long noticeable moment, thank you Joaquin”


We need more of these uncomfortable moments, and these need to be consistently achieved for a period of time. The reality behind the awkward silence is the realisation that often, people confuse privilege for talent. The Joaquin Phoenix speech left a moment of self-reflection to everyone in the room and hopefully to anyone who listens to it or reads about it.


Each sector has its own diversity challenges that needs to be addressed and the awkward silence of self-reflection could spark the change. Leaders of organisations need to separate what was achieved by privilege and what was achieved by talent. People from diverse communities have the talent and the ability to work their way up to leadership roles and win awards, however they lack belief that the opportunity is available to them.  When looking at non diverse nominees/winners of awards and non-diverse management teams, the responsibility of providing the opportunity moves to the leaders of the organisations through visible and publicised changes.


Lets spend the rest of 2020 creating more awkward silences.


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